Archives for December 2015

Andy Careaga’s Summary: 15 important innovations of 2015

The challenge this year 15 innovations. Andy reports out of S&T’s success. See article from S&T News

And for 2016 — 16 innovations. Go S&T!


Hank Pernicka developed a microsatellite imager in an Air Force contest

Nice public news article on Hank’s work is published. See article.

Beyond Traffic: The Smart City Challenge

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The USDOT is encouraging cities to put forward their best and most creative ideas for innovatively addressing the challenges they are facing. The vision of the Smart City Challenge is to demonstrate and evaluate aholistic, integrated approach to improving surface transportation performance within a city and integrating this approach with other smart city domains such as public safety, public services, and energy. The USDOT intends for this challenge to address how emerging transportation data, technologies, and applications can be integrated with existing systems in a city to address transportation challenges. The USDOT seeks bold and innovative ideas for proposed demonstrations to effectively test, evaluate, and demonstrate the significant benefits of smart city concepts.

Materials Research Society (MRS): Mid-Career Researcher Award

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The Mid-Career Researcher Award recognizes exceptional achievements in materials research made by mid-career professionals. The award recipient must also demonstrate notable leadership in the materials area.

The Mid-Career Researcher Award is made possible through an endowment established by Aldrich Materials Science.

Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP)

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The Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP) program supports fundamental research addressing the processing and mechanical performance of engineering materials by investigating the interrelationship of materialsprocessing, structure, properties and/or life-cycle performance for targeted applications.

Materials processing proposals should focus on manufacturing processes that convert material into useful form as either intermediate or final composition. These include processes such as extrusion, molding, casting, deposition, sintering and printing. Proposed research should include the consideration of cost, performance, and feasibility of scale-up, as appropriate. Novel processes for the production of nanoscale materials (nanotubes, nanocrystals, etc.) are of interest. Process optimization studies without a fundamental scientific contribution are not supported.

Research proposals related to mechanical performance should be driven by a targeted application(s). Structural materials that, in service, bear mechanical load are of interest. These include materials such as metals, polymers, composites, biomaterials, ceramics, hybrids and cement, intended for applications ranging from the microscale (e.g., MEMS) to the macroscale (e.g., civil infrastructures). Research related to the deterioration of performance during service (e.g., corrosion and degradation) is also of interest.

In some cases, the performance of functional materials is also of interest. This includes materials that possess native properties and functions that can be controlled by external influences (e.g., temperature, light and pH) as well as responsive materials (e.g., piezoelectric, chromogenic, shape memory and self-healing). Research proposals on performance of electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries and PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program. One exception to this would be for proposals related to multifunctional (versus a single function) material performance that include a consideration of mechanical performance. Proposals on this topic are encouraged.

Research plans driven by scientific hypotheses are encouraged. Material structures across length scales ranging from nano to meso to macro are of interest. Research on materials in the bulk or in special configurations such as surfaces or interfaces is appropriate as are research proposals related to surface engineering or tribology. Analytical, experimental, and/or numerical studies are supported. Collaborative proposals with industry (GOALI) are encouraged.

Proposals related to additive manufacturing, laser processing or bonding/joining processes are welcome in CMMI and should be submitted to the Manufacturing Machines and Equipment (MME) program, even if the focus of such proposals is on the materials for those processes. Proposals addressing the manufacture (scale up, quality, reliability, etc.) of nanoscale materials, structures, devices and systems should be submitted to the Nanomanufacturing (NM) program. Proposals addressing atomic/molecular scale synthesis or thin film synthesis (as opposed to manufacturing) are not appropriate for the MEP program. Research proposals on electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries, PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program unless there is new science being proposed about manufacturing processes for these materials. Research on the mechanics of solid materialsshould be directed to the Mechanics of Materials (MoM) program. Investigators with proposals focused on design methodological approaches and theory enabling the accelerated development and insertion of materials should consider the Design of Engineering Material Systems (DEMS) program. In response to the Materials Genome Initiative, there is a special initiative for research on a combined theoretical and experimental approach to acceleratematerials discovery and development; such proposals should be directed to the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) opportunity.

Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) RSNA Research & Education (R&E) Foundation

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The grant program is designed to support junior faculty members who have completed the conventional resident/fellowship training program(s); but have not yet been recognized as independent investigators. The purpose ofthe funding is to help establish the recipient as an independent investigator, and to collect preliminary data that could lead to further funding through established mechanisms such as the NIH. Recipients will devote a minimum of 40 percent of their time in the approved research project.

BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation – New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision(R01)

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This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits grant applications in two related but distinct areas. The first area is in the development and testing of novel tools and methods of neuromodulation that go beyondthe existing variations on magnetic or electrical stimulation, and that represent more than an incremental advance over existing electromagnetic approaches. The second distinct area that this FOA seeks to encourage is the optimization of existing electrical and magnetic stimulation methods.

Non-invasive neuromodulation devices are rapidly becoming one of the tools considered for the treatment and diagnosis of brain disorders and could become an alternative or an adjunct to neurological, neuropsychopharmacological, rehabilitative, or cognitive behavioral therapies. Non-invasive devices can be defined as those that do not require surgery and do not penetrate the brain parenchyma. These devices include, but are not limited to, those used for focused ultrasound stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, static magnets, transcranial alternating current stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

A related FOA (RFA-MH-16-815) in the area of non-invasive technology seeks applications focused on understanding how neural activity is modified in response to an exogenously applied stimulus using existing devices. This FOA solicits grant applications in two related but distinct areas. The first area is in the development and testing of novel tools and methods of neuromodulation that go beyond the existing variations on magnetic or electrical stimulation. These novel approaches/tools must be clearly beyond incremental advances over existing approaches. The rationale for this objective is that existing magnetic and electrical stimulation methods have limited spatial and temporal precision. To overcome these obstacles and move beyond incremental advances in the field, collaborations between physicists, engineers, neuroscientists, and clinicians are encouraged. The fresh perspective of such integrative teams would enable the development and testing of novel approaches that leverage other types of energy in a way that can lead to novel tools for scientific discovery and for therapeutic brain stimulation with high spatial and temporal resolution.

This first type of application may be in the initial stages and may therefore still be in the animal testing phase. Any proposed work in animals must include a description of how the methods would be scaled up for use in humans, especially with regard to the five topics listed below. In recognition of the fact that these methods might be in early stages of development, work with human volunteers can, but does not need to, be included.

The second, distinct, area that this FOA seeks to encourage is the significant improvement of existing electrical and magnetic stimulation methods. The related FOA (RFA-MH-16-815) in the area of non-invasive technology seeks applications focused on understanding how neural activity is modified in response to an exogenously applied stimulus using existing devices. This second area of this FOA is aimed at improving existing devices rather than at understanding what is happening when existing devices are being used. Grant applications in this area should propose testing methods to significantly improve existing technology in at least one, and preferably more than one, of the following five topics: (1) substantially improve the focality and depth of penetration of the stimulus, (2) prevention of extraneous stimulation (e.g. auditory clicking, scalp sensation, stimulation of non-target brain regions), (3) integration with endogenous rhythmic activity and advancing closed-loop stimulation capabilities, (4) use in natural ambulatory settings such as home or community settings, and (5) improved sham and control conditions. These five topics are discussed below in greater detail. They are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but they provide examples of the types of improvements that are needed in this field.

The first type of improvement is related to improving the focality and depth of the stimulation signal. The issue of focality is compounded for deep brain areas where existing non-invasive devices and protocols do not adequately provide both depth of penetration and target resolution. Advances toward noninvasive devices that allow deep and focal stimulation of the brain are strongly desired. Devices that could stimulate more than one site specifically are welcome.

A second type of improvement to existing devices involves the elimination of unintended extraneous stimulation. Current noninvasive techniques generally stimulate large regions of the brain. This is due both to the lack of focality of the stimulation signal as well as extraneous mechanical effects associated with device operation that independently stimulate auditory and somatosensory systems, thereby confounding experimental protocols. These extraneous effects can be a significant confound in trying to deliver precise stimulation.

A third type of improvement involves an increase in the control of the temporal component of the delivered stimulation dose. Such temporal control can apply both to the stimulation signal itself as well as the interaction of the stimulation with dynamic brain processes. Applications could focus on developing closed-loop devices that are sensitive, and adjust with, dynamic neural activity recorded from the brain, but this is not a requirement. Improvements to existing devices or new devices that enable an exploration of the frequency of the stimulation, the duration, number, or shape of pulses that are delivered during the stimulation, or the shape of the pulse of the delivered stimulation would allow the research community to understand how those parameters affect the neural functioning.

A fourth area would be to focus on modifying devices that can be used in more natural settings. For example, devices that could be used outside the clinic, that allow long term stimulation, that are informed by endogenous oscillations, or are personalized to individual anatomy and physiology could all be significant improvements to existing technologies.

A fifth area would include work on creating a common standard for sham and control conditions for non-invasive neuromodulation.

As mentioned above, in addition to the optimization of existing technologies, this FOA intends to foster the development of wholly novel brain stimulation methods that do not involve the existing electrical or magnetic stimulation methods. This area carries more risk, but it is balanced overall by the parallel emphasis on improving existing methods. It is expected that all grant applications, whether they are proposing to develop novel neuromodulation methods or improving existing ones, will describe the significance of their proposed method by comparing it to the current state of the art and will propose metrics to measure the success of their new tools or techniques.

Applications that propose to explore the use of non-invasive devices for recreational uses, or research directed toward inducing maladaptive behaviors are not appropriate and will not be accepted under this FOA.

Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) – Early Career Fellowship Program

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The Early Career Fellowship (ECF) program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the areas supported by the PlanetarySciences Division. This Program is based on the idea that supporting key individuals is a critical mechanism for achieving high impact science that will lead the field forward with new concepts, technologies, and methods.

This NRA covers all aspects of basic and applied supporting research and technology in space and Earth sciences, including, but not limited to: theory, modeling, and analysis of SMD science data; aircraft, scientific balloon, sounding rocket, International Space Station, CubeSat and suborbital reusable launch vehicle investigations; development of experiment techniques suitable for future SMD space missions; development of concepts for future SMD space missions; development of advanced technologies relevant to SMD missions; development of techniques for and the laboratory analysis of both extraterrestrial samples returned by spacecraft, as well as terrestrial samples that support or otherwise help verify observations from SMD Earth system science missions; determination of atomic and composition parameters needed to analyze space data, as well as returned samples from the Earth or space; Earth surface observations and field campaigns that support SMD science missions; development of integrated Earth system models; development of systems for applying Earth science research data to societal needs; and development of applied information systems applicable to SMD objectives and data.

Disney Conservation Fund: Annual Conservation Grants

limited submissions please check with OSP   see notice 

Recognizing that ecosystems are the basis of the planet’s health, the Fund provides financial support for the study of wildlife, the protection of habitats and community conservation and education. The goal is to support conservation organizations focused on long-term positive impacts for wildlife and habitats.

The following criteria are used to evaluate each proposal.
– The proposal should be cooperative in nature and may have matching funds.
– The proposal should clearly contribute to the conservation of endangered or threatened species in the wild, their habitats and engage the communities that surround them through community-based education programs or support sustainable community development projects that assist communities in protecting nature.
– The proposal should build on previous work including an established commitment to a conservation program or is well suited to become or contribute to a long-term conservation program.
– The principle investigator affirms that the welfare of the animals identified in this study is not compromised. Specifically, the principle investigator affirms that: (1) capture/restraint techniques minimize stress and the potential for physical injury or psychological harm; (2) immobilization/anesthesia is done under the direct supervision of a veterinarian or other trained professional; and (3) exposure to noxious stimuli and presumptive negative effects are minimized with administration of anesthetic and/or analgesic agents where appropriate.

The DWCF gives priority consideration to holistic programs addressing a significant conservation need (or projects that are part of a program) which reflect:
– education and community engagement, including measuring results;
– sustainable development programs directly connected to protecting species and habitat;
– scientific field studies on species and habitats (the DWCF does not fund ex-situ projects/project components).
– Although DWCF recognizes that basic science is a critical first step in conservation initiatives, preference is given to projects where there is a significant conservation action component.

The Fund also seeks to support projects which relate to Disney’s strategic priorities, including:
– Projects that are in areas where Disney has a significant business presence, including Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii (and North America in general), the Caribbean, China, Indonesia, Europe, Latin America, etc.
– Projects involving species/habitats featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot, to better facilitate telling effective conservation stories. These habitats/species include, but are not limited to: Asian habitat and species (primarily tropical forest species); Central/South African habitat and species (specifically savanna and forest species); Latin American habitat and species; and Marine species (including coral reefs, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and sharks).
– Projects that target particular wildlife sustainability issues, including efforts to explore sustainable aquaculture or address sustainable seafood (fisheries management) or to control illegal wildlife trade.
– Projects that focus on invertebrate conservation issues.

Rapid Response Fund
In times of true crisis, emergency funding is provided in response to urgent environmental or conservation needs. Each year the Disney Conservation Fund sets aside dollars in a Rapid Response Fund. This funding has been used for such urgent needs as replacing housing or belongings for field scientists affected by civil unrest in Rwanda, cleaning sea turtle nesting sites on beaches demolished by tsunamis, and purchasing medicines to combat disease outbreaks.

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

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With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the AERA Grants Program announces its Research Grants competition. The program seeks to stimulate research on U.S. education issues using data from the large-scale, national and international data sets supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NSF, and other federal agencies, and to increase the number of education researchers using these data sets. The program supports research projects that are quantitative in nature, include the analysis of existing data from NCES, NSF or other federal agencies, and have U.S. education policy relevance.

AERA invites education-related research proposals using NCES, NSF, and other federal databases. Research Grants are available for faculty at institutions of higher education, postdoctoral researchers, and other doctoral-level scholars. Applications are encouraged from a variety of disciplines, such as but not limited to, education, sociology, economics, psychology, demography, statistics, and psychometrics.

The Governing Board for the AERA Grants Program has established the following four strands of emphasis for proposals. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that:
– develop or benefit from new quantitative measures or methodological approaches for addressing education issues;
– include interdisciplinary teams with subject matter expertise, especially when studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning;
– analyze TIMSS, PISA, or other international data resources; and
– include the integration and analysis of more than one data set.

Research projects related to at least one of the strands above and to science and/or mathematics education are especially encouraged. Other topics of interest include policies and practices related to student achievement in STEM, contextual factors in education, educational participation and persistence (kindergarten through graduate school), early childhood education, and postsecondary education. The research project must include the analysis of data from at least one of the large-scale, nationally or internationally representative data sets supported by NCES, NSF, or other federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Institutes of Health. The data set(s) of interest must be available for analysis at the time of application (public- or restricted-use files are permissible). Additional data sets may be used in conjunction with the obligatory federal data set. If international data sets are used, the study must include U.S. education.